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Hyundai's Ascent outpaces Japanese rivals

16 May 2011 Tom Libby

It's no secret that Hyundai/Kia is on a roll. With a potent combination of aggressive pricing, leading-edge styling, competitive quality, impressive product replacement cadence and innovative marketing programs (including recently-announced guaranteed residuals), Hyundai is growing at leaps and bounds in the U.S. You don't have to see the data to realize this, all you have to do is look around you on the U.S. roads where Sonatas, Elantras and Sorentos are commonplace.

What is not widely known about Hyundai/Kia is that its growth in this country is occurring at a faster pace than that of any other offshore-based company that has sold vehicles here. As the accompanying table shows, if Hyundai maintains its 1Q pace and captures 8% of the U.S. light vehicle market for all of 2011, it will have climbed to that level faster than any of its Japanese rivals.

Years to Reach Eight Percent

The OEMs' success is not heavily skewed to one make; Hyundai and Kia are both thriving. Each of these makes is among the top ten when ranked on either pure new vehicle registrations or year-over-year percent change in new registrations. In fact, the Hyundai make now ranks number six on new vehicle volume, outpacing Dodge, though only by a hair. This is a noteworthy change as Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota, Nissan and Honda (not necessarily in that order) have occupied the top six spots for many, many years.

More Hyundai Charts

Hyundai will face at least two challenges as it tries to maintain its exceptional momentum. To keep gaining share, the company at some point will have to jump into the pickup market, and it will face formidable competition from the domestics, as Toyota has learned. Second, the price range of the products offered by the Hyundai make is wide, with the Accent at the low end and the Equus at the top. A frequently asked question is whether or not this range is indeed too wide for the purpose of creating a clear and distinct brand image.

Posted by Tom Libby, PolkInsight Advisor, Polk (05.16.2011)

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